"You are only free when you realize you belong no place - you belong every place - no place at all."
~ Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging
As 2018 draws to a close and my time in Peru comes to an end, I wanted to share some reflections about this past year. It’s been one of the most intense twelve months of my life. Perhaps that intensity is what has had me living with “one foot in”, but living that way has made it difficult for me to feel grounded or to sustain a sense of balance.
What do I mean by “one foot in"?
It’s about commitment versus emotional straddling. One foot is in one place, but the other is poised to move in a different direction. Looking back, it feels like there have been only a few times when it felt like I had both feet on the ground – planted, steady, committed, sure.
It’s also about belonging. In her book Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown says “You are only free when you realize you belong no place—you belong every place—no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” Intellectually, this makes no sense; but my heart hears the truth in it. That being said, I’m still working to embody the “realizing I belong no place and every place.” The price has been some moments of deep loneliness, and I trust the reward will be a more authentic connection to myself and the world I live in. For now, I’m still feeling a bit out of place most of the time. Solo travel can be like that.
I’ve had one foot in Peru since I landed. The people are friendly and the natural beauty is astounding, but I’m still struggling with my Spanish and I spent hours in solitude writing my novel (and hiding from the mosquitoes or heat). So, despite the fact that there are things that I love about this country, I don’t feel deeply connected and I’m ready to move on.
I’ve also had one foot in the experience of vagabonding. I chose to give away most of my possessions and live in the world. It was a powerful decision that I don’t regret, and yet one foot is still firmly planted in the past and clinging to a way of life that feels familiar. Part of me loves the freedom of living out of a backpack and has a sense of humor about not having running water for a few days in Tarapoto, but sometimes I spend money on frivolous things (e.g. a nice hotel, a new blouse). Sometimes I miss driving a sexy, red SUV and spending the day at a spa with friends. Honestly, sometimes I cry when I think about all of the things that I let go of in order to make this dream possible. Maybe some of them haven’t quite let go of me yet.
Honestly, I was living with "one foot in" before I started my travels.
I had one foot in my job, and one foot already leaving to carry a backpack around the world. I loved the people I worked with, but I yearned to begin my travels.
I had one foot in a relationship with a man that I loved and saw the best in, and one foot running from the next lie or the argument that would finally break us apart. I didn’t run fast enough.
And I had one foot in my dreams of living in the world, and the other foot pinned to the ground by some bitch named breast cancer. I kicked her ass and ran away, but sometimes I still look over my shoulder to see if she’s following me.
It wasn’t all one-footed. There were some lovely “two feet” places and people and moments .
Every single moment I’m with my daughters, I land on my feet and in my heart. Each time I step onto my yoga mat, I do it with both feet even if some of the postures require me to stand on only one. Then there are the people with whom I felt deeply connected, who made me feel like I belonged exactly where I was – mi familia in Pamplona, friends in Austria, my surfing “crew” in Morocco, my family in Las Vegas, and those who ventured with me into the Garden of Peace here in Peru.
And the Camino de Santiago. For forty-seven days, both feet carried me along the Spanish coast. It wasn’t a sense of belonging that I felt there, but there was something so grounding about waking up every day to just walk.
I’m planning to jump into the holidays and the New Year with both feet. I’ll be spending time with my daughters, transitioning to the New Year with music and devotion, publishing my first novel, launching my journaling adventure, re-certifying as a yoga teacher (RYT), and re-launching my coaching practice with some incredible virtual programs. And that’s just in the next few months!
Will I stay on both feet or get knocked off balance again? Will I find somewhere to “belong” or will I finally embody belonging to myself and the world at the same time? Keep reading my blog to find out…
Wishing you all joy, health, belonging, and lots of “two feet” moments in 2019!